5 Things You Won't Hear in Sex Therapy

5. You should... (followed by anything)

Yeah - let's get this one out of the way right off the bat.  Therapy, whether sex therapy, psychotherapy or couples counseling, is not advice.  You can get advice from newspaper columnists, or your mom or your friend.  In sex therapy that's based on cognitive behavioral framework, we're going to identify the "shoulds" you already have about sex, not give you more of them to worry about.  No therapist knows what you should or shouldn't do, so if you hear that, find someone else.


4. Let me show you how's it's done

Lots of people confuse sex therapists or clinical sexologists with sex surrogates.  Sex surrogates are exceedingly rare, and though they might be helpful, aren't really necessary in 2014.  Sex surrogates came from a time when there was way more social pressure on who you could and couldn't have sex with, so by paying an expert sexpert to show you the techniques you learned from the sex therapist, you were avoiding any sort of impropriety.  Nowadays, you are not going to have sex with anyone that you need to pay- unless that is what you're into, in which case, be safe and have fun.  Sex therapists are talk therapists (psychotherapists, counselors, etc) who have specialized training in sexuality. They often use a model of therapy called PLISSIT (Permission, Limited Information, Specific Suggestions, Intensive Therapy) to help people lead a more fulfilling sex life.  (Florida is one of the only states that has a government certification for sex therapists, so if you're looking for one, be sure and check out their license information in a mental health field, and what extra training they have had in working with your issue.)


3. God would want you to do it this way

Sex therapists or clinical sexologists are using the clinical application of the scientific study of sexuality, as well as (hopefully) evidence-based psychotherapy and psychological interventions to help you.  If you could just pray yourself better, you would! So leave your religious baggage at the door.  You might actually learn a safe, sane and consensual way to have the best, connected, ethical, grounded sex life that you've ever experienced. Your therapist isn't your guru, moral compass, priest, rabbi, etc.  We're there to help you with your issues related to sexuality by helping you identify the distorted thinking you've built up in your head about what a normal sex life "should" be (See number 5). Deities throughout human history have been represented as having all sorts of insane, non-consensual, cross-species dysfunctional sexual behaviors.  We won't use them as our models in therapy.  Let's get you expressing your sexuality in a way that feels right with you. That may not look like the model of hetero-normative, serial monogamous, no-sex-outside-of-marriage kind of scenario. 


2. You are a sex/love/porn addict

No no.  No you're not.  No.  Can you use sex in an unhealthy way?  Sure.  Can it get in the way of self-esteem and being okay in your own skin?  Absolutely.  But the number of people who are having so much sex that they can't hold down a job or stop long enough to eat a meal and take care of themselves in other ways - yeah, not as common as the Dr. Phils and 12 steppers of the world would have you think.  You can just like sex.  It can be a hobby.  It feels good.  You can find a willing, consensual partner.  You can use condoms to minimize your risk of sexually transmitted infections and diseases.  Yes.  You can.  The problem is when people desire sex, but then have the basic belief that sex is wrong, bad, dirty, nasty, immoral, etc, and should only be shared with a partner in a specific context (marital partner, monogamous long term relationship partner, in a bed, in a home, at night, before falling asleep).  So when you try to shame yourself while trying to enjoy a sex life, that disconnect causes all sorts of emotional problems that we try to compensate for with problematic behaviors like lying, not using condoms, putting ourselves or others at risk, trying for non-consensual sexual encounters, etc.  The mindfuck of it all is that all those taboos we have about sex are the same reasons why we want to watch porn- which is idealized (to some) people having... dun dun DUNNNNNN - sex.  And we want to watch all the people having all the sex.  Otherwise, you know what? The same imagery gets boring. You don't play the same 8 bit Mario Brothers arcade game from 1983, and you don't look at the same Playboy centerfold from 1983, either.  The more people tell yous ex is bad, the more you want to see it and masturbate to it.  That's life, baby! You're not addicted to porn or sex any more than the next person.  And love addiction?  Well they just set it up so you can't win at all, don't they?! Love and sex are two different basic human drives (think Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs here) - and the theory is all humans have those (very distinctly separate) drives. You can put a distorted meaning on being loved or loving someone, just like you can put all sorts of distorted meaning to sex and porn - but that's not addiction, that's humans driving themselves crazy, as we are wont to do.  Put down the Patrick Carnes sex addiction books.  Turn off the NoFap subreddit.  And let's work on taking some of the shame out of your sex life.


1.  You like WHAT?! 

As mental health providers, psychotherapists, counselors, marriage and family therapists, sex therapists, clinical sexologists, etc are not here to judge you.   If you can't talk about your kinky secret fears to your therapist, who the hell can you tell? Therapists are trained to work with human behaviors and emotions, and sex therapists specialize in all things sexual from premature ejaculation to BDSM to juvenile sex offenders to people who have some aversion to sex due to past traumatic events, to coming out to couples who want to open up their relationships, to people who want to learn about tantric masturbation. Really - you can tell your therapist.  And if you can't, you know what? Find a different therapist who helps you work through your trust issues so that you can really get some good therapeutic work done.  You should note that most mental health providers are mandated reporters, which means that if something you tell us involves hurting yourself or others (especially children or elders), then the therapist has a legal obligation to report that to the authorities.  Otherwise, the whole point of therapy is to be able to talk about something in a confidential setting, with an objective party, using a therapeutic framework to help you work through whatever it is you need to work through.  No judgement.  



@MyTherapist offers psychotherapy, couples counseling, sex therapy, life coaching, family counseling, group therapy, and career coaching in New York that is secular, modern and effective.



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